Bristol Renaissance Festival – Bristol, Wisconsin

Posted on November 18, 2012 by

Attracting over 450,000 people every year the Bristol Renaissance Festival is one of the best attended Renaissance Festivals in the country and has grown steadily since it was first created as “King Richard’s Faire” back in 1972 by Richard and Bonnie Shapiro, two local history buffs.

One of the most noticeable things about the Bristol Renaissance fair is that it features a great many rides, far more than are offered at most of the other Ren Fests across the country, almost creating a 16th century theme park within the fair grounds.

As is the case at most Renaissance Festivals there is a huge range  of different foods and drinks on offer but one of the differences at the Bristol Renaissance Festival over the last several years has been the large number of vegetarian and vegan dishes on offer, something that is quite welcome as vegetarians can have problems finding things to eat among the huge turkey legs and stakes on sticks that are traditional Ren Fest fare.

Because of the Festival’s proximity to Chicago over the years a number of the members of the famous Second City comedy improv school have performed at the Festival and the standard of the performances in general at the Bristol Renaissance Faire is considered to be unusually high.

The Setting:

The festival depicts the English version of Bristol (a real place) in the 16th century , 1574 to be precise, the earlier part of Elizabeth the 1st’s rule.

When it is Held:

The  Bristol Renaissance Festival is held between the first weekend of July and the first week of September every year. (Saturdays, Sundays & Labor Day, Jul. 6 thru Sep. 2, 2013, Off I-94 at the IL/WI Border  • 10am – 7pm)

Festival Highlights:

The Bristol RenQuest – The Bristol RenQuest is a themed theatrical game, almost like a physical version of Dungeons and Dragons that involves following quests and tasks set all over the Festival grounds. Thousands of people come back to play all season long and year after year and keep in touch out of Festival season through forums.

The Bristol Pub Crawl – A decidedly adults only activity that tours all of the beer and wine stands and inns across the village. Led by in character actors it is a very popular activity (not too surprisingly)

The Rides – Every Ren Fest offers man powered rides that fit the theme but there are an unusually high number offered at the Bristol Renaissance Festival. The most popular of them include Da Vinci’s Flying Machine, The Barrel of Bedlam, The Giant Dueling Horse Slide, Crow’s Nest Twirl and the Butterfly Ride for younger toddlers and the bungee jump (with trampolines) The Pirates Assault Catapult for the more daring.

Also very popular is the Fight the Knight show which lets festival goers dress up in armor and take on the pro knights!

For more information and tickets: